Direct observation of individual particle armored bubble interaction, stability, and coalescence dynamics.

Research paper by Sin-Ying SY Tan, Seher S Ata, Erica J EJ Wanless

Indexed on: 26 Jun '13Published on: 26 Jun '13Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry B


The interactions between two individual particle-stabilized bubbles were investigated, in the absence of surfactant, using a combination of coalescence rig and high-speed video camera. This combination allows the visualization of bubble coalescence dynamics which provide information on bubble stability. Experimental data suggested that bubble stability is enhanced by both the adsorption of particles at the interface as indicated by the long induction time and the increase in damping coefficient at high surface coverage. The interaction between an armored bubble and a bare bubble (asymmetric interaction) can be destabilized through the addition of a small amount of salt, which suggested that electrostatic interactions play a significant role in bubble stability. Interestingly, the DLVO theory cannot be used to describe the bubble stability in the case of a symmetric interaction as coalescence was inhibited at 0.1 M KCl in both the absence and presence of particles at the interfaces. Furthermore, bubbles can also be destabilized by increasing the particle hydrophobicity. This behavior is due to thinner liquid films between bubbles and an increase in film drainage rate. The fraction of particles detached from the bubble surface after film rupture was found to be very similar within the range of solution ionic strength, surface coverage, and particle hydrophobicity studied. This lack of dependence implies that the kinetic energy generated by the coalescing bubbles is larger than the attachment energy of the particles and dominates the detachment process. This study illuminates the stability behavior of individual particle-stabilized bubbles and has potential impact on processes which involve their interaction.